LATEST: The funding is now in place for the Ferris wheel that will be built at Modern Woodmen Park.

The Quad-Cities River Bandits announced approval of a five-year loan from The National Bank on Wednesday. The bank and Main Street Amusements, LLC, the new company that will oversee amusement rides at the ballpark, have agreed to a $995,000 loan, which is scheduled to be paid back over the next five years. The City of Davenport is not a party to the loan.


Davenport's Ferris wheel plan spinning forward

EARLIER REPORT: A 90-foot-high Ferris wheel planned for Modern Woodmen Park with 20 gondolas and programmable LED lighting still needs a place to sit.

Before the end of this month, the city of Davenport is expected to select one of four engineering companies that submitted proposals to recommend where the attraction will stand in left field, taking utilities and flood protection into consideration.

“It should be pretty straight forward,” project engineer Tom Leabhart said Tuesday. “It is deciding on the exact spot, make sure we miss utilities.

“We do need to address the flood. Can the electrical services be raised? Do the workings of the wheel need to be surrounded or does it need to be removed if we know (a flood) is coming? We’ll have to consider that.”

Also, ease of access during games and on non-game days also has to be considered, according to the city’s request for proposals.

Companies that submitted proposals are Bracke-Hayes-Miller-Mahon of Moline, Ament Design Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Missman Inc. of Rock Island and Landmark Engineering Group Inc. of East Moline.

 A contract with the engineering consultant is expected to be part of the city council agenda in early April. The request for proposals has site work beginning April 29, with Ferris wheel construction to begin June 1.

The city council approved a lease amendment in February with Main Street Baseball, owner of the Quad-Cities River Bandits. Main Street is financing the purchase of the 90-foot ride.

The attraction will offer plenty of colors with the lights, said Larry Breitenstein, director of sales for Chance Rides, the company that is manufacturing the Ferris wheel for Main Street. The 6,000 programmable lights can have Fourth of July or Halloween patterns, among others.

Breitenstein wouldn’t disclose the paint scheme for the Ferris wheel, saying that was up to Main Street managing partner Dave Heller. The River Bandits’ team colors include red, black and gold. The gondolas will hold up to six adults or eight children and have high-backed seats and automatic closing doors. Similar Ferris wheels stand on Santa Monica Pier in California and Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas.

“It will be a great addition to the riverfront,” he said.

The location of the Ferris wheel still must be approved by the city council, Historic Preservation Commission, Design Review Board and Levy Improvement Commission. Attendance at those meetings as well as soil borings as part of the site determination were specifically mentioned in the request for proposals.